Lady Cougars flex muscles in big win (w/gallery,video)

With four appearances in the state Final Four basketball tournament times in the last decade, Faith Academy coach Dusty Lemke said he tells his girls to show the Lady Cougars are small but mighty.

Tuesday night, the No. 8-ranked team in the weekly Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Small TAPPS schools rankingsshowed it was indeed mighty.

Faith defeated Brazosport Christian 56-16 in its final pre-district game of the season. The Lady Cougars controlled the majority of the game after a four-point deficit in the beginning of the first quarter.

With district play beginning Friday, the Lady Cougars (18-7) have participated in multiple tournaments, including one in Goliad and the St. Joseph Holiday Classic.

"We have had a tough schedule so far, which shows we can play against the public schools and win," Lemke said after the 18th victory for the Lady Cougars this season.

Senior Brittney Church was a regular contributor on last year's state tournament team and said it helped open the team's eyes to what it has to look forward to in district play and in the postseason.

As the season has progressed, Lemke has noticed more than a few positives.

"We graduated six seniors last year, so that made for some spots to be filled by new players," Lemke said. "I tell them all the time that they are family, and now, I can't separate them. They are a close team."

Besides team unity, Church said the team is focused on rebounding and aggressive defense.

Those strategies were especially effective against Brazosport Christian. The Lady Cougars capitalized on opponent turnovers and built up a 30-point lead by halftime.

Church scored 10 points against the Eagles, Krischelle Alex scored 20, and Maegan Wilkinson added 12.

"It's funny because I texted my coaching staff this morning and realized that we never keep track of who the top scorer is; it could be a different person on any given day," Lemke said. "All of those girls have been top scorers in one game or the other."

Church said that the team never focuses on any one player.

"We just play our team game, and whoever scores, scores," she said.

Though Faith is in one of the smaller TAPPS districts, Lemke does not underestimate the team's opponents.

"We have a tough district," Lemke said. "We're ready to go all the way like last year, and the games we've played have helped us get there."

Faith's first district game will be Friday against Christian Academy of San Antonio at 6 p.m.

BOYS

In its final game before district play begins, the Faith Academy Cougars (21-10) defeated Brazosport Christian 79-59 in the final tune-up game before district play starts.

Craig Hogan led Faith with 24 points, followed by Joe Rodriguez with 21 and Derrick Garcia with 12.

Holding a one-point lead after the first quarter, Faith took back the reins in the second and ended the half leading 43-29.

After halftime, the Cougars came back stronger and scored 18 points in the third and 18 points in the fourth.